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DEFECT STATUTES OF LIMITATION

If an association has construction defects, it has a limited time period to assert its claims. The following are general guidelines only. Boards should immediately contact a law firm that specializes in construction defect litigation for advice on how best to proceed.

Patent Defects. These are obvious defects that are discoverable by reasonable inspection by the average consumer. (Creekridge v. Whitten.) Four-year limitation for damages from persons furnishing design, specifications, surveying, planning or supervision of construction. (Code Civ. Proc. § 337.1.)

Latent Defects. Latent defects are deficiencies that are not apparent by reasonable inspection. (Creekridge v. Whitten.)  Three-year limitation on injury to realty.
(Code Civ. Proc. § 338.)

Statute of Repose. Unless the time has been tolled, no action may be brought more than ten (10) years after substantial completion of the project regardless of the date the defect is discovered. (Code Civ. Proc. § 337.15.)

SB 800 Limitations on Claims. Following are limitations on construction defect claims brought pursuant to SB 800.

1 Year:

  • Fit and finish warranty (Civ. Code §900) builder shall provide a homebuyer with a one-year express written limited warranty covering the fit and finish of the following building components: cabinets, mirrors, flooring, interior and exterior walls, countertops, paint finishes and trim.
  • Inter-unit noise transmission (one year from original occupancy of unit)
  • Irrigation and drainage systems
  • Manufactured products (products completely manufactured offsite – oven, microwave and other appliances)

2 Years:

  • Dryer ducts
  • Wood posts – decay due to untreated posts coming into contact with soil
  • Landscaping Systems

4 Years:

  • Plumbing and sewer systems (proper operation)
  • Electrical Systems (proper operation)
  • Cracking of exterior hardscape, patios, pathways, walkways and sidewalks
  • Fences – corrosion of steel fences

5 Years: Paint and stains to be applied so as not to cause deterioration of building surface

10 Years:

  • All other statutory violations (”catch-all”)    
  • Balconies and Balcony systems
  • Ceramic tile, tile backing, and countertops
  • Decks, substrate, and deck systems
  • Doors
  • Stairs
  • Stucco and stucco systems
  • Siding
  • Framing and framing systems – including concrete slabs and load-bearing components
  • Soils
  • Columns
  • Plumbing lines, sewer and utility lines
  • Roofs, Roof systems, and sheet metal
  • Chimney and chimney caps
  • Baths
  • Electrical (fire protection)
  • Heating
  • Wall finishes – pot shelves and plant ons

Tolling the Statute. The 10-year statute of repose is not absolute but may be extended if the developer or contractor that performed the defective work takes any action to correct the defects during the 10-year period. Jackson Plaza Homeowners Association v. Alcal Roofing and Insulation (2002) 98 Cal.App.4th 1088.

ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.

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